Hinchinbrook Shire Council has installed signs on all major beach entry points asking residents and visitors to report any signs of turtle nesting to the Council.
“Our beaches are privileged to have both Green and Flatback Turtles nest frequently along our shorelines, and Council is doing all it can to gather as much data on these species as possible,” Council said in a statement.
It says knowing where and how many turtles are nesting on local beaches is important for several reasons.
“Firstly, it helps Council understand the relative importance of Hinchinbrook in the broader population dynamics of turtles across the region, Great Barrier Reef and worldwide. “
“Secondly, confirmed nesting sites add significant weight and access to funding and investment opportunities for programs such as the Hinchinbrook Community Feral Pig Management Program, since feral pigs are known predators of turtle eggs.
“Lastly, it adds to the wilderness values that many people come to the Hinchinbrook Shire to experience.”
Between November and January, nesting Green and Flatback Turtles lay about 50 and 100 eggs per clutch respectively and may nest more than once per season. Hatching occurs approximately 12 weeks later (January to April), where the hatchlings migrate out to sea and hopefully return some 30 years later to breed themselves.
Residents are being encouraged to gather information on the GPS location, take a photo of the nesting site and/or tracks, with some obvious landmarks in the photo.
“This allows officers to record and monitor the situation. Alternatively, sightings can be logged through the ‘Eye on the Reef’ app, using the ‘Sightings’ tab. You can add a photo, mark the GPS location and make comments about the turtle or nesting sight. This data adds directly to Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s collaborative citizen science programs about the reef,” Council said in a statement.